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Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles NFL Draft Day 2 Recap

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NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports

Here is what Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles said to the press last night.

Opening Remarks

Mike Maccagnan: Obviously, we made two picks today. The most recent pick was Lorenzo Mauldin, an outside linebacker from Louisville. We were excited to get him at that point in time because of his ability, potential and value. We also took with our second-round pick, Devin Smith from Ohio State, a wide receiver. He was another player we were excited to get at that point in time in terms of what he brings to the table from a physical ability standpoint and definitely in terms of an explosiveness and vertical threat aspect. We also feel he is a good prospect to potentially add to our offense to give us a little more impact and potential playmaker in that area.

We did make a trade today. One of the things I had mentioned earlier was the idea of trying to add more picks to (provide) more opportunities to add players to our team. We did make a trade today with Houston. During the course of that trade, we did pick up picks. We picked up DeVier Posier, a wide receiver I was familiar with from Houston, who did have some success and does have ability. I’m excited to get him in this environment. Obviously, it’s going to be what I would at least feel is a situation hopefully where he comes in and makes that position even more competitive for us. That was part of the trade we made with Houston. Really, when we worked out the trade for the most part, we always have trade charts in terms of picks and values so the trade value for the picks that we exchanged obviously very equally fair on our side so when we get him as an additional player with his potential value to our team, it supports what I said earlier.

On what stood out about today that would lead you to believe that he was more than just a one-dimensional deep wide receiver…

Maccagnan: First of all, from an ability standpoint, he is a very athletic player with very, very good speed obviously. When you look at his productivity, I know he only caught 33 balls this year but he did average close to 30 yards a catch in terms of average. When you really watched him on tape, I think (what) really stood out (is) that he has the physical skills to vertically stretch the field which everybody can obviously see. We felt his hands were good when we watched him at the Senior Bowl in a different environment. When you watch him in college, he does run different routes. He doesn’t run (vertical) routes every play. We thought he had all of the skills athletically in terms of quickness in and out of his breaks, in terms of getting in position to catch and track the ball. When you saw him at the Senior Bowl in the environment, you felt very good about him having the physical skillsets you need to be a good player in that role. To us, we saw obviously the big-play aspect of it but the more we kind of broke him down and studied him and went to his Pro Day. At his Pro Day, he ran a variety of routes and you could see all of the physical ability you would want there to be able (to run multiple routes). I know he may be perceived as sort of a vertical deep threat. In some ways, people compare him to Mike Wallace who came out a few years ago but, again, he’s a guy we really liked at that point in time. We had a grouping of players that we kind of worked through it and he was the one we felt kind of was best in terms of value and return and, to a certain degree, fit for we were looking for at that point in time.

Reason that Smith’s productivity didn’t match up with his skills last season…

Maccagnan: I don’t want to comment on how Ohio State’s offense is built and structured. At the end of the day, he still caught 33 balls and I believe he had (approximately) 40 targets. For that, the productivity was kind of rare. I know the stat is out there but he had 12 touchdowns on 33 catches and that’s against good competition. At the end of the day, some times you take players that may not be quite, in a perfect world, more productive. I think the production he had was quite a handful. That’s kind of what you have to go with when you are scouting. You kind of have to speculate and project but we felt pretty good about him.


Whether the team observed a variety of route running by Smith…

Maccagnan: He does run different routes in college. It’s not just all vertical routes. Every time, he’s not getting the ball when he’s out there but at the Senior Bowl and, for example, his Pro Day, you saw all of the ability to get in and out of his breaks and do stuff like that.

On whether Smith ran a variety of routes in college…

Maccagnan: When you watch him, he does run different routes in college. It’s not just all vertical routes. Again, he’s not getting the ball every time he’s working or running out there. In the Senior Bowl for example and actually at his Pro Day, you saw all the ability to get in and out of his breaks.

On how they would evaluate Smith’s hands…

Maccagnan: We watched him at the Pro Day, we watched him at the Senior Bowl, and you watch him when you go to the practices. Not every ball is vertical over the shoulder in terms of catching, or tracking the deep ball. He does have opportunities, maybe not as extensive, and that’s the tricky part in scouting, but we felt he did have good hands when we evaluated him.

On how Mauldin will play in their defense…

Bowles: He’s a hybrid, in certain defenses he’ll be up and in certain he’ll be down. He brings a level of toughness and depth to a position on the outside, some youth that we can get in and help out our older guys. Eventually, we see this guy playing a lot of good football. The tenacity this guy plays with and the toughness he brings, he was perfect for us right at the time we took him.

On if Mauldin was emotional when they spoke with him…

Maccagnan: I think as you get to know him and his story and where he came from, and he came from a rougher background and had the ability to overcome some of that stuff. It was kind of a culmination of his journey, for lack of a better term. When we talked to him on the phone he was extremely excited, and happy and very emotional. And you guys will get to know him a little bit obviously, but he has made a journey to get to where he is today and overcame a lot of things that were in his way I guess.

On if Mauldin’s perseverance is taken into account when coaching a guy…

Bowles: Yes, it shows a lot in his play. And it shows a lot when you talk to the individual, what he’s going through and how he was brought up. How he has a hunger and a desire and a work ethic. And for the things he’s went through and that all plays into the character of a person and helps build who you are. I think he’s grown into a great young man. From where he came from, to where he is now, being drafted, I can see where he would be emotional.

On what the mindset of Houston in trading Posey…

Maccagnan: I would probably differ to the Texans on that, I don’t want to speak on behalf of (Houston General Manager) Rick (Smith) or any conversations I had with people down there. In the NFL, there are lots of situations when players change teams, and sometimes a fresh start and a new environment bodes well for them. Having been through this process in the league for a long time, to me, it was an additional value that was above and beyond what we agreed to in terms of the (draft) pick value. We felt that to move back and take more picks and potential players (which) would help us, it was an added bonus that he was included in the trade.

On how Posey recovered from his injury last season…

Maccagnan: He was inactive for a lot of the games, but I was there for all of the practices and the preseason when he played, and he did quite well. It was just a situation where in terms of (Houston’s) roster and depth chart where he really didn’t get activated a lot on game day. It will be an interesting thing when you get him in this environment, a different grouping of players, to see how he performs and responds. He did well when I was down there. I always thought from an ability and potential standpoint it was a very low cost, potentially good return for the change of scenery and the investment in him.


On whether injuries kept Posey out of the lineup last season…

Maccagnan: If I remember correctly, it was just the way the rotation worked. (Houston) had other players, they had DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson, and they had good receivers. The way they worked the game day roster, he didn’t get into that mix. Sometimes you get sort of pigeon-holed for whatever reason. So to me, when we worked the trade out, it was sort of an added bonus really. We will see what happens. We are very excited about it. The goal for us was just making the position a little more competitive and he’s a young player too, it’s not as if he’s an older veteran player. It was just an opportunistic try from our standpoint.

On how Posey was included in the trade…

Maccagnan: Rick and I have been talking for a little bit about the possibility of trades. As we were talking very recently he mentioned there was a possibility if there was guys on the roster (we were interested in) and I thought maybe if there was an opportunity to include him (Posey) in a possible trade scenario, I would try and do that and I did, and he reciprocated. It was kind of a good fit for both sides.

On if he initiated the call with Houston…

Maccagnan: Yes. I mentioned this before, with literally every pick we have – and with my mindset at least, I really wanted to add more picks – just for the opportunity (to acquire more players). When you are in the draft process, you have your rankings, you have your stack, you have your board and you have clusters of players in certain value ranges. Of course when you have (higher ranked players) you may obviously take a player, but when you get a group that is sort in the same range what you try to do is anticipate if it is worth trying to drop back a few spots and pick up more picks and still maybe get one of the players that you targeted in your group when you think the value is all kind of in a block or in a grouping. They may all be different positions. That is what we try to balance out literally every day.

On Mr. Johnson saying that he was hoping to add some help for Geno Smith…

Maccagnan: Obviously, I respect Woody’s opinion. When you try to target a guy (in the draft) you get locked into guys and that is not what we do. In essence as the board kind of works itself out, we just try to take the best player available in any given spot. We did not go in with a mandate to try and add more players.  In the third round, when we took Lorenzo it was kind of the best value we saw at that point and time. So we did not sit there and kind of say ‘Ok let’s try to take an offensive player.’ We did not go in with a mandate to try to target certain positions or players.

On if he would have taken a defensive tackle if he was the highest guy on the board…

Maccagnan: I did say we factor in need at times in our decision making process. If I drafted another defensive end I figured you guys would come in here and think I was have been worried I was going to trade Sheldon Richardson (laughter).

On how much needs factored in to the day two picks…

Maccagnan: I would say this, when you go through the process you don’t try to fill needs. As I said before, when you have players rated equally and you think they are the same value and risk then need can kind of separate (them). Sometimes they really standout, like with our first pick. Leonard was a significantly better player than the players we had around him. So that one kind of made sense – every once and a while you kind of have one that stands out. Everyone does the same thing we do, so the players kind of become grouped. Every once and a while you will have an outlier but for the most part when you way the ability, the intangibles and the physical aspect of their health they tend to be in certain ranges. Certain drafts are different, like this one in particular you have bigger groupings.  Sometimes you say, ‘We can sit here and take a guy or we can move back a few spots and get a few more picks and maybe get a comparable player in terms of ability. You are just sort of playing the odds in terms of the numbers you have (in the groupings). If you don’t feel like you can move back and get fair value then maybe you sit there and take a player. You are constantly playing that game of who is going to take other players when you make that decision. There are always times when there is a guy that gets away and that was one you really liked or you were hoping a guy would be there when you picked and he was picked a few picks ahead of you.  That is the sort of internal stuff that everyone in the NFL in terms of their drafting goes through.

On if they are still drafting based off of “best player available” or are there positional needs that they are looking at…

Maccagnan: I think the board dictates where the players are. It is sort of the “best player available,” but sometimes, when things are equal, you pick a different position or two. I don’t know if it is easy to quantify that. We don’t go into a round think, “Okay, in this round we are going to try and pick this,” because the best player may not be at that position.  

On how much consideration they gave to selecting a quarterback in the second or third round…

Maccagnan: You don’t want to get locked in to targeting certain positons. What you do is you go through the process, you have your (board), which we literally stack 1 to 287 or whatever it is, the guys on our draftable board. Really at the end of the day you let the board kind of come to you, I guess is the best way to say that. You don’t sort of lock yourself into to taking a certain position, in theory you are trying to take the best player available. The risk you run is if you want to target a certain position, and you jump them over other players, that are better players, you run the risk that if you miss on that player that you’ve elevated because of the position, then you’ll be in the same spot a year later without having really solved the problem. We don’t try to go in and manipulate it so we end up with certain positions, we literally grade them from 1 to 287 and we just work down our (board). And we have groupings where the grades (are the same).

On if selecting a quarterback was discussed…

Maccagnan: I would not want to comment on that because if other teams know our thoughts, it really doesn’t bode well for us to conduct our business. I’m not trying to not answer the question. That is sort of strategy and I would say I wouldn’t want to comment on that, in terms of other teams listening to what we think.

On whether the groups of players on their draft board gets larger the later they get into the draft…

Maccagnan: I think with any market, if you go down, there are more players that fall into those lesser tiers. In theory yes, you get to a point where there are really few talented players, and as you work your way down there tend to be more players in certain ranges. Everybody’s board usually goes from the first round to the seventh round and has a few guys, like 10 or 12 (in the first round) and then it gets down to the seventh round and you may have like 80 guys, because that is just how the talent is, there is not a lot of dispersal of talent across the seven rounds. But yes, when you get into some of those later rounds I think there are times when you factor need in a little but because there are more numbers and names in the same group so I would agree with that.

On whether Devin Smith’s special teams experience was more of a bonus, than a deciding factor in his selection…

Maccagnan: I would say in the bigger scheme of things, like this is as the skillset of the receiver, there’s a little extra bonus with that. It bodes well, but it wouldn’t necessarily be the determining factor I would say to you, but we’ll weight it appropriately.

On if the offseason additions are enough for Smith to make a leap in year three…

Bowles: I would hope everybody on offense makes everybody better. We have brought in a bunch of guys and (that) creates a lot of competition and we got some bigger targets and Brandon (Marshall) is big obviously, and (Eric) Decker has already been big, and you’ve got Devin, he’s a six-footer. And you’ve got (Jeremy) Kerley. We got a bunch of young receivers on our roster, so hopefully with the chemistry and the work ethic and the change of offensive scheme, that hopefully he can work with and grasp a lot better and a lot faster. We hope that makes everybody better.


On if Mauldin plays faster than his 40 time would indicate…

Bowles: He’s a good football player. He has balance. He plays fast. You know, 40 times sometimes can be overrated. There are 4.3 guys that can’t play and there are 4.8 guys that can play, it’s your play speed that’s most important. His play as an outside linebacker, rarely are you going to get the speed guys that come off the edge. You got to get guys that know how to play, and there are guys that are good with hand placement and technique and toughness and tenacity and that’s what he brings to us and appeals as well. So, he plays more like a 4.7, 4.65 guy than a 4.8 guy. He’s not going to be out on an island running track meets, so that doesn’t bother me as far as his play is concerned.

On whether the draft has worked out the way he might have wanted or hoped it would…

Maccagnan: Time will tell, but every draft is tricky. Some drafts have more talent, some drafts have less talent. What I think what we try to do, is we try to, again, the best of our ability, it’s kind of like with the salary cap, and you have potential in terms of what you have with the dollars you can invest from the pro side and the salary cap. The same thing happens on the college side when you try to think of all your draft picks of being opportunity costs. So as it sort of unfolded so far, I’m happy with it so far. I think we have a lot more work to dotomorrow and hopefully finish up strongly. But at the end of the day, it’s like everything else. When you go through the process, you are just trying to maximize your return in it really at the end of the day for the impact of it.